Wayfinder startup OpsGuru traces its beginnings from a decision in 2014 by UC Irvine Health’s management team to improve customer satisfaction and system efficiency due to recognizing a deficit and taking action. Problems were identified through two key components, the Ambulatory Care Improvement Project (ACIP), which works through the Clinical Operations Management & Patient Analytics System (COMPAS), a technology developed by the UCI Medical Center Ops IT department, headed by Mike Glover, lead developer and supervisor, and Curtis Hendrick, director of Client Services and Innovation. COMPAS provides hospitals with a solution to monitor the progress of patients throughout their hospital visits and quickly identify inefficiencies.
UCI Health recognized significant operational improvement in the following areas through ACIP and COMPAS:
- Patient cycle time was reduced from 86 minutes to 62 minutes
- Utilization increased from 31% to 47%
- Patient satisfaction increased from 88% to 90%
- Cost per visit decreased from $224 to $187
- Overall revenue increased by $3.9 million, with no additional staffing or facilities
Thrilled with the results from COMPAS, the system was submitted for consideration to the 2016 CAPH/SNI Quality Leaders Awards, and won top prize – a significant milestone providing validation from the industry of the technology’s potential. The California Health Care Safety Net Institute (SNI) is the 501c3 affiliate of the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH), and supports California’s public health care systems in its efforts to improve the way they deliver care. As a result of this award among other accolades, word of the technology continued to spread among other hospitals and health systems, resulting in requests for access to the COMPAS system to implement in their own facilities.
Recognizing what COMPAS could do for healthcare providers, a team comprised of co-founders Hendrick and Glover participated in a compressed version of the I-Corps program held at the Cove to explore the potential of creating a business from the COMPAS system. I-Corps is an NSF funded program that trains individuals to broaden the impact of basic research projects to develop effective solutions for customer problems. It provides the infrastructure, resources, advice, networking opportunities, training, and funding for motivated teams to assess their commercial opportunity.
As they completed the I-Corps program, an opportunity to participate in the 2017 New Venture Competition’s Business Products & Services and Tech Surge tracks arose. Joined by Dr. Scott Ruskin from the UCI Medical Center, graduate students Aaron Soto and Don Magnuson, and Expert-in-Residence (EiR), the COMPAS team placed second in the Business Products & Services track of the competition, facilitated by the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Paul Merage School of Business in partnership with UCI Applied Innovation. Following their win, the COMPAS team was admitted into Applied Innovation’s Wayfinder incubator, where they worked closely with staff facilitating the program to help them find a CEO to work on the business full-time given Hendrick and Glover’s commitments to UCI Health. Jeff Greenberg, an Applied Innovation EiR, seasoned entrepreneur, and tech veteran with over 30 years of experience who also previously built two companies based on UCI intellectual property, eventually filled the role of CEO, along with Soto as VP of marketing and product management, another veteran entrepreneur with 19 years of experience in the computer industry and an alumnus with both a B.S. and M.S. from UCI.
Prior to joining OpsGuru, Greenberg approached Doug Crawford, senior licensing officer at UCI Applied Innovation, about a different technology to license, having worked with him on two previous successful licenses of UCI IP. “It turned out that [what we were discussing at the time] wasn’t going to come through so I said, ‘Okay, what else you got for me?’. [Knowing my strengths and what my interests were, he] said, ‘You should talk to COMPAS.’” Following a series of emails, phone calls, and conversations through interactions facilitated by Applied Innovation staff, Greenberg knew he wanted to join the team, “[I] recognized potential value in what they were doing and started working with them.” Although an extensive amount of time and effort was spent on the technology side of the company, the business side still required additional support. Greenberg, with his background in building and scaling startups to successful ends, decided to take on the responsibility. He states, “I believe in knowing core competencies and letting people stick to that. And the engineering team’s core competency is engineering and if I take them through the marketing and sales learning curve, I’m taking time away from their engineering activities. And, as a startup, it’s difficult to justify that.”
Greenberg finds the resources provided by the Cove to be particularly helpful for both burgeoning and established entrepreneurs, fulfilling roles as both an EiR and member of a Wayfinder incubator team. “I think it’s mostly designed to help the novice entrepreneur, but I find it helpful also because it takes an ecosystem to launch a startup and there’s a preassembled ecosystem here waiting for me that complements the ecosystem I have built over the years.”
In 2008, Greenberg established Hiperwall, ‘a hardware-agnostic, software solution,’ based on UCI intellectual property, with assistance from fellow Cove EiR Bill Waldo through TriTech’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). TriTech SBDC also has an office at the Cove. Hiperwall has come full circle as Greenberg donated the software which runs the 100ft screen prominently used at Cove events. Additionally, Greenberg has presented at Applied Innovation’s Lunch and Learn series and attended and participated in Wayfinder events. Greenberg understands the value of the Cove and Wayfinder and still uses the programs to support OpsGuru–“In examining our own skillset, I have identified some gaps and I’ve asked Wayfinder for EiR suggestions to fill those gaps and they’ve given me very good references.”
To learn more about OpsGuru, visit www.OpsGuru.net.